If you take a proper look at the history of black footballers in the US and UK, you will find that it is riddled with racial politics – where Black players have had to fight their own battles while white footballers have seemingly beaten those challenges off without a fight.
In this article we shall take a look at the history of black footballers in the US and UK from the 1860s right up to the present day. We will show how black footballers have had to fight their own battles and in many cases their struggles have been carried out in the context of racism.
*Please note that this article is not meant to be a commentary on the historical facts of black football – it is merely meant to highlight how black footballers have had to fight their own battles in the past and we also look at the present.
History of Black Footballers in the US
The first black footballers, also known as the first black professional footballers, who emerged from the 1890s on were in the sport of baseball. The first black professional baseball player in the US was in 1890.
In 1867, James Reagan, a coach at the University of Pennsylvania, introduced the first football team to include black players. In 1869, a basketball club was formed with black players – this being the first sport to include black players.
A major breakthrough in black American football occurred in 1892 when Booker T. Washington, a black educator, founded the Tuskegee University club and was also the first black coach of a college football team.
A series of black football clubs emerged throughout the years – some of these clubs were the Washington Tigers and the Chicago American Giants. The largest black football club in the US was the Tuskegee Airmen, which was one of the most successful teams in the sport.
The first inter-collegiate black American bola online was played in 1893. The season began on 22 September 1893 and the Princeton University Tigers defeated the Yale Bulldogs 12-0. This was also the first time that a non-white person was the head coach of a team.
The first game involving a black player was played on 9 October 1893 – the University of Pennsylvania defeated the Princeton Tigers 11-0 in front of a crowd of 10,000.
The first game between two black teams was on 25 October 1893, when the A&M University All Blacks defeated the Chicago American Giants 14-0 at the Polo Grounds in New York. This was the first time that a black professional football team from the US had beaten a white professional football team.
In November 1894, the first college football national championship was played between the Yale Bulldogs and Princeton Tigers. The Yale Bulldogs finished the season undefeated and were named the national champions.